BEREC to Riga
EU telecoms ministers on Monday (31 May) agreed that the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) will be based in Riga, Latvia. BEREC was created as part of a reform of the EU’s regulatory rules for telecoms that was approved by EU governments and MEPs in November 2009.
The European Free Trade Area’s Surveillance Authority (ESA) ruled on 26 May that Iceland must pay compensation to Dutch and UK account holders in the failed Icesave bank. The ESA said Iceland had to pay at least €20,000 per deposit holder, the same conditions that apply to account holders in Iceland under its domestic bank deposit insurance rules.
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Russia visa divisions
Summit talks between the EU and Russia on 1 June in Rostov-on-Don failed to produce a breakthrough on travel visa requirements. Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, said that his country was “prepared to lift visas as early as tomorrow” if the EU did the same. The EU remains divided on whether to lift its visa requirements.
The Commission on 27 May proposed that members of the Schengen travel area should lift visa requirements for citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina if the two countries meet certain criteria. EU experts are to carry out a review in the summer to determine whether the conditions have been met.
The European Parliament’s environment committee called for further study into the use of two types of flame retardants and the plastic PVC (polyvinylchloride) in electronic devices and household goods. Green groups criticised MEPs for not voting to ban the substances, while the European engineering industry said that the Parliament risked excessive regulation.
EU member states are to lend skimmers to help with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the European Commission said on 28 May. Spain, the Netherlands and the European Maritime Safety Agency had responded to an urgent request by the United States Coast Guard for equipment, a spokesman said.